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May to voice concerns over Hong Kong rights violations in China

By Sara Shayanian
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May to voice concerns over Hong Kong rights violations in China
British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) stands next to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as they listen to their respective national anthems during a welcoming ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed she would address human rights concerns in Hong Kong during her visit to China this week.

May, who embarked on a three-day trip to China, spoke to reporters before she flew out, saying she would speak about the issues to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday during their dinner.

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"We believe that the future of Hong Kong should be a 'one country, two systems' future and we are committed to that," May said. Long a British colony, Hong Kong was transferred to Chinese control in 1997.

"I've raised this in the past with President Xi and he's shown commitment to that, but I will continue to raise it with him," May said. "That's the basis of the relationship, that we are able to raise those issues."

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Joshua Wong, Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy youth leader, asked May to speak to Xi about China's "relentless crackdown" in Hong Kong.

"Theresa May should speak out on Hong Kong during her visit to China instead of having an empty talk with Emperor Xi," Wong said on Wednesday.

Before the trip, May received a letter from former Hong Kong governor Lord Patten, who described the "increasing threats to the basic freedoms, human rights and autonomy which the people were promised" by China.

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May is not expected to publicly address the issue, as she is expected to travel to Beijing in hopes of securing a post-Brexit trade deal with China.

The prime minister has also not fully endorsed China's 'Belt and Road Initiative,' which aims to invest cash to build infrastructure across Asia and Europe.

"What I would like to see is, ensuring that we have transparency and international standards being adhered to, and I will be discussing that with my Chinese interlocutors," May said.

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